What are the 10 Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Indiana (Online & Campus) for 2020?


1) Indiana University-Purdue University (Indianapolis) - Indianapolis


Programs Offered: MSN and Post-MSN Graduate Certificate

Purdue University’s Indianapolis campus is located in the heart of the downtown district of the U.S.’s 15th largest city. It’s been recognized as one of the best colleges for vets by “The Military Times” and other armed services advocacy groups. The school has also received recognition for the excellence of its instruction and for the diversity of its students and faculty. IUPUI offers five nurse practice specialties as part of its master’s degree program. These same five NP specialties can also be pursued as certificate concentrations by students who have already completed their MSN education.

MSN Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Students have the option of completing their MSN NP studies in either two years (fulltime) or three years (part-time.) Admission into all five NP specialties is offered once a year in the fall semester. Fall and spring semesters are 16 weeks long while the summer semester is 12 weeks long. The AGACNP, AGPCNP, PNP, and PMHNP tracks require 42-semester credits and 525 clinical hours while the FNP track requires 43-semester credits and 600 clinical hours.

MSN core courses are taught online, and some online classes are synchronous sessions in which nursing students interact with teachers and classmates using real-time video-conferencing. The core Advanced Physical Assessment class includes five days of labs, which must be taken on campus. The specialized subjects that are specific to each NP track utilize a hybrid teaching model that incorporates distance learning as well as campus classes. Some synchronous online classes may also be taken on campus if a student prefers the classroom learning experience.

Clinical rotations must take place within Indiana, but they may be set up within a student’s home community if the student doesn’t live in Indianapolis. Clinical partners include medical centers, rehabilitation facilities, pediatric hospitals, ambulatory clinics, community agencies, and other health care facilities.

Post-MSN Graduate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Nurses holding master’s degrees who wish to expand their professional practice opportunities may be interested in pursuing one of Purdue University’s post-MSN graduate certificate options. Students can complete a certificate in two years of part-time study; no full-time course of study is offered for nurses pursuing certificate credentials. Study plans are individualized for each enrollee based on a comparison between the coursework they’ve already completed and the criteria for national certification in each of the specialized fields.

2) Purdue University - West Lafayette


Programs Offered: MSN,Post-BSN to DNP and Post-Master's Certificate

Purdue University’s West Lafayette branch offers several of the top NP programs in Indiana. The university has been singled out by “U.S. News and World Report” for the excellence of its graduate programs and by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance for its affordability. This university offers four nurse practice specialties as part of its MSN degree program. Nurses who already have a master’s degree can pursue those same four NP specialties as part of a post-master’s certificate program. Purdue West Lafayette also offers four nurse practitioner concentrations in conjunction with its post BSN-DNP and Master's Degree-DNP pathways.

MSN Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Full-time students should be able to complete one of Purdue’s MSN-related advance practice options in two years of study. While the university occasionally admits part-time students to these programs as well, part-time admission is only granted on a space-available basis and requires permission from the program director. NP programs combine online courses with campus classes. In order to be admitted into the program, you must have an active Indiana RN license.

Both the AGNP and PNP specialties require 47 credit hours and at least 630 clinical hours to complete. Preparation for the AGNP specialty includes clinical a hands-on mentorship at the Riggs Community Health Center while PNP students will have opportunities to complete their clinical hours at the Riggs Community Health Center, the Nursing Center for Family Health, St. Elizabeth Medical Center and other health care facilities throughout Tippecanoe County.

You’ll need to take 49 credit hours and complete 645 clinical hours to finish the prerequisites for the FNP track. The PMHNP track calls for 49 credit hours and 630 preceptor hours.

Post-BSN-DNP Concentrations: Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, and Psych Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Purdue’s post BSN-DNP and Master's Degree-DNP pathways offer multiple opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. Clinical preceptorships are often scheduled at health care facilities that deliver care to medically underserved populations in urban and rural settings. The AGNP and PNP specialties require the completion of 76-semester credits while the FNP and PMHNP tracks require the completion of 78-semester credits.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Purdue’s certificate programs are designed for individuals who already have MSN degrees. NP certificate programs consist of the same four NP specialties that are available to MSN students. The total number of hours it takes to earn a certificate will depend upon past academic classwork and the type of clinical experiences a student has already participated in, but typically, certificates can be completed with 16 to 34 hours of course credit and 630 clinical hours. Coursework can be completed in three semesters.

3) University Of Southern Indiana - Evansville


Programs Offered: MSN, BSN to DNP, and Post MSN Certificate

Most of the coursework associated with the University of Southern Indiana’s graduate nurse practitioner specialties can be taken online but a two-day campus orientation is required for all new admissions, and each of the four NP specialties require at least a single two-day on-campus session. Students from certain states are ineligible for admission, so check with the Dean of Admissions before you apply. The university offers the same four nurse practitioner specialties in conjunction with its MSN, BSN to DNP, and post-MSN certificate programs.

MSN Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMH), and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-PCNP)

The AGNP-Acute specialty involves 42 credit hours within the specialty as well as 660 clinical hours. The FNP and AG-PCNP specialties require 42 credit hours and 665 clinical hours while the PMH NP specialty requires 44 credit hours and 655 clinical hours. Students are expected to arrange their own clinical rotations at a health care facility that’s close to where they live. Once students have identified a prospective preceptor, the university will assist the student with setting up a contract and will facilitate channels of communication between the preceptor and the appropriate faculty member.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Primary Care NP, Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Acute, Family NP, and Psychiatric Mental Health NP

The BSN to DNP concentration requires 78 credit hours in total, but much of this is core classwork. Coursework specifically associated with each of the four advanced practice concentrations is identical to coursework required for the MSN, and students will begin focusing on this coursework in their final year. Students will also complete their clinical practicums in their final year. The curriculum may be completed in four years (fulltime) or five years (part-time.) Though most of the coursework may be taken online, students may be required to spend two to three days on campus at least once per semester. Students are responsible for setting up their own clinical experiences.

Post MSN Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner - Acute (AGNP - Acute), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

If students admitted into one of the University of Southern Indiana’s post-MSN NP certificate specializations haven’t taken a graduate-level pharmacology class within the last five years, they will be required to take one at the beginning of their certificate studies. Students can count on spending three to five study hours each week for every credit hour they take. Two-day intensive campus sessions are required for all NP specialties, but the rest of the coursework can be taken online. Students must set up their own clinical rotations.

4) Indiana State University - Terre Haute


Programs Offered: MSN and Post MSN Certificate

Indiana State University’s graduate nursing programs are designed to help address a critical nursing shortage in a state where more than 25 percent of all nurses are getting ready to retire. The university offers a Family Nurse Practice concentration as both an MSN specialty and a post-MSN certificate. All coursework is conducted online, and classes may not be open to residents of some states.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

All coursework necessary to earn an MSN with a Family Nurse Practitioner concentration at Indiana State University is offered online. No campus visits are required. Students must arrange their own clinical placements in the state in which they are licensed as RNs. The program requires between 47 and 50 credits of coursework as well as 675 clinical hours. Most students will be able to complete the program within two and a half or three years. Students cannot take longer than five years to finish their studies.

Post MSN Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

Nurses who have earned a master’s degree in nursing and who are interested in expanding their scope of practice may be interested in pursuing Indiana State University’s post-MSN Family Nurse Practitioner certificate. The 26-credit course is a distance-learning program, which can usually be completed in 16 months. Students are not required to visit the Indiana State University campus at any point during their studies. Clinical rotations consist of 675 hours on-site at a health care facility, which students are required to set up for themselves.

5) Goshen College - Goshen


Programs Offered: MSN

Goshen College is affiliated with the Mennonite Church, but it admits students of all religious denominations. In keeping with its core religious philosophy, the college emphasizes the delivery of nursing care within an ethnically and culturally diverse society with a special emphasis upon serving the needs of marginalized individuals. Goshen offers one NP specialization as a master’s degree concentration.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

Classes necessary to earn an MSN degree with a Family Nurse Practice specialization are conducted on Tuesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The entire Goshen Master’s degree program takes 32 months to complete, and students are admitted in the fall of each year. The college uses a cohort model, which allows students to develop deep, long-lasting relationships with their classmates and their professors.

Clinical rotations involve a minimum of 672 hours. While the program director will collaborate with students on identifying clinical placements, it’s the student’s responsibility to identify preceptors and practicums that will be most meaningful in reaching specific professional goals.

6) Ball State University - Muncie


Programs Offered: MSN and Post-Master's Certificate

Ball State University’s graduate nurse training has been recognized by “U.S. News and World Report” as one of the best nurse practitioner programs in Indiana and the nation. The university has been singled out by the National League of Nursing as a Center of Excellence. The university’s MSN program follows a Quality Matters implementation plan that clearly identifies benchmarks that NP students need to reach for high-quality learning. Nurses can expand their scope of practice at Ball State with one MSN-related NP program and one post-master’s NP certificate.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

All the coursework necessary to complete the Family Nurse Practice specialty can be completed online. Ball State’s distance learning uses an asynchronous format, which means you’ll be able to study and complete assignments at your own pace. This model makes this program ideal for working nurses.

The program consists of 47 credit hours, 33 of which will be primary care courses related to the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty. You will also be required to complete 690 supervised hours of clinical rotation in a primary care health facility. Students are responsible for finding their own clinical supervisors and preceptors.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

Ball State’s certificate concentration in Family Nurse Practice is designed for nurses who already have a master’s degree. It consists of two separate tracks: one for nurses who are not NPs and one for nurses who already have an advanced practice specialization in adult/gerontology or a related field. The university will tailor curricula for students in the latter category so that they can be credited for relevant coursework they have already taken. All classes utilize distance learning, and students are responsible for arranging their own clinical placements.

7) Indiana Wesleyan University - Marion


Programs Offered: MSN, Post-BSN to DNP, and Post Master's Certificate

Indiana Wesleyan University is a private evangelical Christian university. The university accepts students of all religious faiths, but chapel attendance and Bible classes are mandatory for all campus students. The same two specializations are offered in conjunction with the university’s master’s degree program, its post-BSN to DNP program, and its certificate concentrations. While coursework is mostly conducted online, some attendance at on-site campus classes is required.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The Family Nurse Practitioner specialization associated with the master’s degree entails 46 credit hours and a minimum of 700 hours of supervised practicum while the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialization requires 49 credit hours and a minimum of 525 hours of supervised practicum. Most classes are conducted online, but students are required to come to campus for clinical orientation workshops as well as for the Advanced and Health Assessment course. Books and other study materials are included in the cost of the program. Students must maintain an active license in the state where they perform their clinical rotation, and drug testing may be required before a student will be allowed to participate in practicums.

Post BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

The NP portions of the post-BSN to DNP programs are essentially the same as the NP coursework associated with Indiana Wesleyan’s master’s degree program. While coursework is mostly taught through distance learning, a classroom-based residency on campus is a requirement. This NP program entails 70 credit hours and 1,000 clinical hours. Students will also be responsible for implementing a project that has the potential to bring about positive change in the clinical environment where their clinical rotation is taking place.

Post Master's Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Indiana Wesleyan offers post-MSN advance practice specializations in Family Nurse Practice and Psychiatric Mental Health Practice. Prerequisites for admission into the FNP program include program-specific graduate-level Pharmacology, Pathophysiology, and Advanced Health Assessment coursework, but if an applicant does not have these prerequisites, he or she can take them through Indiana Wesleyan. The FNP certificate specialization consists of 20 hours of coursework and 700 clinical hours. The PMHNP certificate specialization requires 525 clinical hours, and students must attend an advanced health assessment class and two intensives on campus.

8) Valparaiso University - Valparaiso


Programs Offered: BSN to DNP

Valparaiso University is another one of the nurse practitioner schools in Indiana that’s church-affiliated: Valparaiso is a Lutheran school, and campus life is grounded in Lutheran ideals though the university accepts students from all religious backgrounds. Valparaiso offers a single FNP track, which is associated with its BSN to DNP program.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

The Family Nurse Practitioner track associated with the university’s BSN to DNP offering is a hybrid program. Students participate through live stream technology in synchronous classes that are scheduled for two days in the middle of each week. During the course of their studies, students will be required to make four campus visits: for orientation; for simulated patient assessment experiences in conjunction with NUR 605; for oral and poster presentations in conjunction with NUR 770; and to deliver their own poster and oral presentation as they wrap up their studies.

The program is a three-year, six-semester course of study that also includes one summer. The coursework entails 70-semester credits, which can be completed on a part-time basis. Aspiring family nurse practitioners must also complete 1,120 hours of clinical practicum. They have the option of setting up clinical rotations close to their own homes or workplaces.

9) University Of Indianapolis - Indianapolis


Programs Offered: MSN, BSN-DNP and Post Master APRN Certificate

The University of Indianapolis is affiliated with the Methodist Church but accepts students of all faiths and cultural backgrounds. This university is the only nurse practitioner program in IN that offers a specialization in neonatal advanced practice. The same three NP specializations are offered in conjunction with both the university’s master’s degree and BSN to DNP programs. The curriculum is taught through a hybrid format, meaning that it incorporates both campus and online coursework.

MSN Concentrations: Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)

The FNP and AGNP specializations are designed to accommodate part-time students and can be completed in three years if students take two classes at a time, including during the summer semester. The FNP specialization entails 49 credit hours and 645 clinical hours; the AGNP specialization entails 48 credit hours and 600 clinical hours.

The NNP specialization entails 65.5 credit hours and 600 clinical hours. The specialization can be completed in three years if a student commits to attending fulltime. Part-time students should be able to complete the specialization within four years, but they will need to be flexible in order to accommodate clinical rotation requirements. Hands-on clinical training will take place at a number of neonatal intensive care units throughout Indiana, including the nationally recognized Level IV NICUs at Riley Children’s and St. Vincent Hospital.

BSN-DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Adult Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (AGNP), and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)

The University of Indianapolis uses the same curricula for the FNP, AGNP and NNP specializations associated with its BSN to DNP program that it uses for the FNP, AGNP and NNP concentrations associated with its master’s degree program. The FNP program involves 49 credit hours and 645 clinical hours while the AGNP program entails 48 credit hours and 600 clinical hours. The FNP and AGNP programs can be completed in three years or eight semesters, including two summer semesters. The NNP program offers a 3-year fulltime option and a 4-year part-time option. Required classes include 65.5 credit hours and 600 clinical hours. Neonatal intensive care units throughout Indiana are utilized for practicums, and students’ own schedules must be flexible enough to accommodate these NICUs’ calendars.

Post Master APRN Certificates: Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Primary Care Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

If you already have a master’s degree, you can expand your clinical skill set by pursuing one of the University of Indiana’s post-master’s advance practice certificates. Each student in the certificate program will have an individualized study plan that’s determined through a gap analysis of the coursework they’ve already completed and certification requirements. The FNP and AGNP certificates can be completed in six semesters in most cases; the NNP certificate can be completed in five. Students pursuing the FNP track will need 34 credit hours and 645 clinical hours while students seeking certification as an AGNP will need to complete 33 credit hours and 600 clinical hours. The NNP specialization requires 31 credit hours and 690 clinical hours.

10) Purdue University Northwest - Hammond


Programs Offered: MSN and Post Master's Certificate

Purdue University has a third high-ranking NP school in Indiana, and this one is located in Hammond, which is actually part of the greater Chicago metropolitan region. This university offers a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization as a master’s degree concentration and as a post-master’s certificate option. As you might expect from a program located close to one of the most dynamic cities in the U.S., Purdue University Northwest’s NP program prepares nurses to address urban health care issues by assuming leadership roles in medically underserved clinics, hospital outpatient facilities, and ambulatory care centers.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

The master’s level Family Nurse Practice specialization is a three-year program in which FNP practice competencies build from core classes in pathophysiology, physical assessment, pharmacology, and advanced nursing practice. Classes take place on campus. Clinical rotations during which aspiring NPs work side-by-side with preceptors take place during Year 3. Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in order to remain in the program.

Post Master's Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

Admission into Purdue Northwest’s post-MSN FNP certificate program requires a minimum of one year or 1,500 hours of experience as a working RN. Depending upon their work experience and academic qualifications, students will be required to complete a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 30 credit hours to complete the certificate.

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